English Premiership

Pellegrini touted for Zenit job

2016-03-29 17:01
Manuel Pellegrini (AFP)

Cape Town - Manuel Pellegrini can take Zenit St. Petersburg to another level if the Chilean decides to take over as manager of the Russian club at the end of the season, according to former Manchester United winger Andrei Kanchelskis.

Zenit coach Andre Villas-Boas has announced his intention to step down in May and Pellegrini, who is leaving Manchester City this year, has been strongly linked with the job in Russian media.

Zenit asked Pellegrini to become their head coach in March 2014 but the 62-year-old chose to stay in Manchester. The St Petersburg club are now reportedly ready to offer him 3.5 million euros ($3.9 million) a year to take the job.

"Pellegrini is a great coach and I am one hundred percent sure that at all levels he is a much better manager than Villas-Boas," Kanchelskis, who is coaching Solyaris Moscow in the Russian second division, told Reuters by telephone.

"I don't know how quickly the Chilean will adapt to Russia, but he can certainly take Zenit to a higher level."

Villas-Boas has enjoyed mixed fortunes at the Petrovsky Stadium.

The only major trophy he won was the Russian league title in 2015 and Zenit – bankrolled by energy giant Gazprom – have yet to make it past the Champions League round of 16.

Villas-Boas, 38, was handed a six-match touchline ban after pushing an official and he has been at loggerheads with the Russian Football Union (RFU) regarding the foreigners rule in domestic games which allows a coach to play a maximum of six non-Russian passport holders at any one time.

"Villas-Boas failed at Chelsea and Tottenham, but somehow found himself in St. Petersburg," Kanchelskis said.

"The club made the wrong choice and now they will need to find a replacement. Over the last 14 years Zenit have had foreign coaches," added the former Russia international who won two English Premier League titles with Manchester United.

"Vlastimil Petrzela, Dick Advocaat, Luciano Spalletti, Villas-Boas... For Russian coaches this position is a closed shop."

With nine games left in the Russian season, Zenit are fourth in the standings, six points behind leaders CSKA Moscow. They are also through to the semifinals of the Russian Cup.

Key players, including Brazilian forward Hulk and Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel, could leave this year to play in stronger leagues but the future is still bright for Zenit.

"The team could change, but with Pellegrini they will certainly not be weaker," former Zenit and Russia forward Alexander Panov told Reuters.

"The Chilean has done well at Manchester City and has shown what a high-class coach he is having won the English title and League Cup twice," he added.

"He has a winning mentality and he has a number of qualities that the current coach of Zenit does not have."

Read more on:    manuel pellegrini  |  soccer

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

29 October 2016
Sunderland v Arsenal, Stadium of Light 13:30
Manchester United v Burnley, Old Trafford 16:00
Middlesbrough v Bournemouth, Riverside Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City, The Hawthorns 16:00
Watford v Hull City, Vicarage Road 16:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City, White Hart Lane 16:00
Crystal Palace v Liverpool, Selhurst Park 18:30
30 October 2016
Everton v West Ham United, Goodison Park 15:30
Southampton v Chelsea, St. Mary's Stadium 18:00
31 October 2016
Stoke City v Swansea City, Britannia Stadium 22:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2016/17 season?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.